Many disabilities affect a person over the course of his or her working life. There are some disabilities that come later on due to accidents or unforeseen circumstances, but others can be a lifetime battle. This can have a profoundly negative impact on an individual’s eventual disability payouts.
For instance, if a person’s disability causes frequent employment gaps, this can reduce an individual’s disability or retirement benefits or potentially make a person ineligible for benefits. To combat this “double whammy” negative for disabled persons, the government instituted the disability freeze.
What is a disability freeze?
At its most basic, the disability freeze allows a person to ignore periods of disability when the government is calculating retirement or disability benefits. The idea behind the disability freeze is to encourage individuals to work for as long as possible, even if the individual can only work at a partial capacity. It is possible for individuals to get a disability freeze after the fact in certain circumstances.
What must I have for a disability freeze?
In order for the government to qualify you for a disability freeze, you must have insured status for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI). You also must file for disability while disabled. Finally, you must hold disabled status or be legally blind according to the Social Security Administration’s definition.
In certain circumstances, you may be eligible for a disability freeze, even if you are not getting disability payments at the time. Typically this applies to incarcerated persons or those who are statutorily blind but still able to work. Only SSDI recipients are eligible for a freeze since it is directly related to the work record: Supplemental Security Insurance recipients are not eligible.